Adelino Alberto and his family, who fled an attack claimed by Islamic State-linked insurgents on the town of Palma, wait at a temporary displacement centre in Pemba, Mozambique, April 3 2021. Picture: REUTERS/EMIDIO JOZINE
Adelino Alberto and his family, who fled an attack claimed by Islamic State-linked insurgents on the town of Palma, wait at a temporary displacement centre in Pemba, Mozambique, April 3 2021. Picture: REUTERS/EMIDIO JOZINE

As a politician Tokyo Sexwale had to watch his words, but as a businessman with interests in Northern Mozambique he can speak his mind. On SABC recently he left little doubt about the threat Islamic fundamentalists pose to Southern Africa following the recent attack in Cabo Delgado.

The influence of Islamic State (IS) and its surrogates has been spreading southwards from Central Africa like a stain for some years. It had now arrived in a neighbouring state and unless decisive action is taken will soon be knocking at our door.

IS’s tactics are simple. Attack and kill civilians to create chaos and confusion and show that the government has no control in a particular area. If a military force takes them on they simply disappear to attack again when the force withdraws. In short, a classic guerilla war.

It is essential that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries take this seriously. Insurgents need money and arms so the first priority will be to find and cut their supply lines. An airborne rapid reaction force needs to be established to intervene as soon as attacks occur, preferably beforehand through good intelligence gathering.  

This is a tall order in a part of the world where the only fighting politicians do is to keep the opposition (where there is one) from joining in the looting of their countries’ resources. However, self- preservation is a strong instinct so perhaps something might be done. The last time the SA National Defence Force had to fight was against Cubans in Angola. The next time it might be against an enemy that doesn’t fear death.

Bernard Benson
Parklands

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